November 29, 2007


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Sebastian Bach, Angel Down
EMI Records, Nov. 20
No matter what cultural vacuum Sebastian Bach gets sucked into, he always runs back to his beloved Screamy Screamington thrash and axe-demon crunch. There were the Broadway turns, the Gilmore Girls episodes, and the reality TV BFF heart-to-hearts with Kurupt, but you didn’t seriously think that a massive shift of artistic paradigm was taking place in Johann’s head, did you? Plus, for a while there it looked like Guns n Roses were going to get back together, and there was no way Bach was gonna sit still while those guys ran off with all the hot Mensa babes. Besides, we all know that those art-snob departures were heartfelt but overdone atonements for the Homophobic Slur On The Tee Shirt Incident back in ’89. But I won’t mention that.

When Velvet Revolver was forming, Slash gave Bach a tryout but canned the idea, saying that the sessions sounded too much like Skid Row. Jeez, what was he shooting for, Collective Soul? Because that’s the thing — if Bach’s the singer, it’s Skid Row. QED, then, Angel Down is a Skid Row album. When guest screamer Axl Rose trades screams with Bach during the cover of Aerosmith’s “Back in the Saddle,” he sounds like he’s been helplessly assimilated, stressing to keep up. As usual, there’s polite thrash-metal, blues scales getting beaten to pulps, and Bach’s screaming — nothing new, a fish gotta swim thing. B-. B- Eric W. Saeger